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March 23, 2007

The Captain: A Model of Scandinavian Cool

The captain politely turns down Greta's offer to steer the ship

It was a dark and stormy morning. The boat was heaving worse than ever, and I got up well before sun rise, opened the curtains and was met by an angry sea: frothy white caps, a howling wind picking up seawater and blasting it at the side of the ship, and a driving rain.

I couldn't sleep, so I grabbed my Sony Reader, which I loaded with books before leaving, and went up to the Lido Deck for coffee, convinced I was the only soul stirring on the boat. I arrived to find a collection of elderly gentleman already there, reading and drinking coffee. I settled down with a latte, a smoked salmon sandwich and my book and thought about the considerable pleasures of rising early.

Two hours later, I returned to the Lido Deck with Laura and Greta and ended up eating a second breakfast. This time it was waffles, bacon, strawberries, and miso soup. It seemed an appropriate menu, given our present position. I had the soup first, then the waffles. I would not recommend consuming them at the same time.

As we were leaving, I bumped into the captain. The captain is Norwegian and has the Scandinavian gift for understatement, a trait that inspires tremendous nautical confidence. We shared the following exchange:

ME: Did we sail through a storm this morning?

CAPTAIN: Not that I know of.

ME: Because when I woke up, and I looked out he window and saw whitecaps, and it was, like, really windy. Wasn't that storm?

CAPTAIN: Not that I know of.

ME: I mean, the conditions were rough, just like they are now.

[I gestured out the window, at the veritable tempest that was raging.]

CAPTAIN: These conditions are not rough.


All I can think about is how blonde Greta's getting! She's starting to look Norwegian . . . hey . . . weren't you in Norway last year?

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